EIB grants big loan for community wind

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The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a loan of EUR 100 million to be invested in renewables in France, particularly wind power, to help the country meet its European renewables targets. The loan, which is the first of its kind EIB has made to France, will be administered by Unifergie, a subsidiary of local bank Crédit Agricole, which specialises in structured financing of energy and environment projects. The money is to be invested in small and medium size projects, typically between 4 MW and 60 MW (EUR 5-60 million), which Unifergie will select "according to 20 objective criteria related to wind assessment, wind turbine technology and finance structuring." Loans over EUR 25 million must be referred to EIB for approval, though under that figure Unifergie is free to allocate the money within certain parameters. Given the booming French market, Unifergie estimates the funds will be fully disbursed within a year. Unifergie has considerable experience in the sector, having been involved in arranging project finance for up to 350 MW of wind power in France.

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